I have been writing my first novel over a period of years (12 to be exact). And, as many writers find, it is hard to fit your literary ambitions around your day job. I have found that I have had to snatch whatever time I can to write, especially when inspiration strikes.
Therefore, it was inevitable that parts of my novel would end up on the back of train receipts and Greggs packets.
So, when I finally drew close to the end, I had promised myself that I would go back and make sure I had all of my chapters in one place, ready for the first edit. The prospect that each chapter would be neatly rounded up, in order, without any inconsistences, dwindled fast.
I found myself amazed at myself. How could I have written such brilliant paragraphs side by side with such utter crap?! I had thought myself a better writer than that! Where did that plot line come from? And who was that character? Didn't I cut him in chapter 12? Hang on, where is chapter 12?! And chapter 2 come to think of it?
Apparently, I found that, in between tearing chunks of my hair from my scalp, I had managed to miss out chapter 2 entirely, chapter 12 was written on the back of a metro from last year, and chapters 16 through 18 were handwritten in a scrap book I took on retreat with me.
Suddenly, that first edit seems a very long way off...